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Starting Discipline

A girlfriend of mine recently emailed asking if I’d covered discipline and toddlers on my website yet – she’d hit a new phase of disobedience from her own toddler and was eagerly looking to my mommy focus group to find out what had worked for them.

When Maddie turned a year old, my girlfriend Abby gave me the book Kids, Parents, Power Struggles. I was a bit astonished that I’d have to start thinking about such things at such an early age, but boy was I grateful to read the thing right away. Because the truth is that when you need those disciplining tools, the last thing you want to do is take the time to research, read, and absorb; you need to know immediately. That book gave me some rudimentary tools to deal with Maddie’s emerging personality, and made me feel more equipped to start making deliberate decisions about how we’d raise our daughter – how we’d deal with disobedience, to time out or not to time out, consequences, and so forth.

The book also caused me to look further for more good parenting books, and thanks to some good friends who have already been through toddlerhood and some great been-there-done-that parents at my church, I collected a few that I’ve found incredibly useful.

The first, Shepherding A Child’s Heart came recommended by several parents I know and it’s fantastic. The whole premise is dealing not with the behavior, but the reason behind the behavior – instilling a fundamental change in the way your child thinks and operates. The second, Parenting Is Heart Work I picked up after my church ran an adult ed class based on the book. Again, an excellent book that teaches you tools for dealing with kids throughout their childhoods. They advocate breaks rather than time outs – an important distinction which makes the time feel less punitive, and more about recovering and getting control of emotion. My girlfriend Abby recently went through a weekend seminar by this organization and will hopefully comment here to give more insight about it.

Both books listed above come from a Christian parenting perspective; the first one, Kids, Parents, Power Struggles, does not and will be valuable to anyone.

I’m hoping to get a parenting/discipline book section added to my Top 5s page soon – just as soon as Mommy finds the extra time, ha ha. For now, I’d love to hear what books you’ve found that have helped you out – I’m always up for more information. And to the new mommies I say, it’s never too early to start reading and making decisions. Ok, maybe newborn is too early – you’re still figuring out that yellow seedy stool and blood blisters on the nipples. But I encourage any parent whose child is hovering around their first birthday to start reading up and figuring out how you want to handle things. When the first tantrum strikes, you’ll be glad you did.


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